Using videotapes of Shadow warships, I have reverse-engineered their 3D structure and used Raydream 3D studio to make a 3D model. The current model is my third attempt.
If you're unfamiliar with the show, see sections entitled "Shadows" in the second season and third season background summaries on the Lurkers Guide to Babylon 5 for more information.
The 3D model was rendered using a background in which the stars and clusters were made using the Universe program and combined with a hand drawn nebula.
The same 3D model of the warship in the same orientation as the above image was rendered on a black background with each layer of the ship in a different primary color. You can see the structure of the ship much more clearly.
The same 3D model and shading as above, but in an inverted orientation.
A closer view of the warship as it fires. The beam object consists of a central core of two fog cylinders in reversed orientations (otherwise the fog seems to go down in density as you go in the plus Z direction). The outer cylinder is slightly larger and has a shader which is a uniform color in the glow channel and has a cellular pattern in the transparency channel. There is a puple bulb light positioned just outside of the beam's emergence point which gives the purple highlights reflecting off the rest of the ship.
David Christy requested this render. I thought it looked pretty cool, so I put it where everyone can see it. You'll need to configure a helper application (I used LView Pro 32) in order to see the large image.
A re-creation of the scene in The Coming of Shadows in which the Shadows, having destroyed the orbiting Narn station, prepare to open fire on the planetary colony. You'll note that the top left warship is in the same orientation as the single warship in the image above. David Christy sent me a screen capture of this scene to illustrate the orientation he wanted for the above rendering.
My conventions (see the labelled image [24 KB GIF] ) for orientation are that the side from which the beam weapon emerges is the front and the side which has the straight spines is the top. In the color-coded models, the top layer is red, the middle layer yellow and the bottom layer blue. The top and middle layers have four spines on each side. From front to back, I have designated these spines central feeler, lateral feeler, pre-quad, and quad. The bottom layer has two spines on each side which I have designated front leg and back leg.
Each spine is a single free-form object: an oval extruded using the pipeline setting and with the centerline and envelope adjusted to produce the desired curves and taper. Most of the spines use a symmetric in-plane envelope, but a few required free form envelopes (e.g. the central feelers). I used the 'duplicate with symmetry' command to make the mirror image spines for both sides of the ship.
When the spines meet in the middle (top quad, middle quad and back leg), the junction is smooth because the Bézier handles for the initial point on the extrusion pathway extend straight out.
The shaders used in the color-coded models are supplied with Raydream. For the skin of the warship in other renderings, the shader had a value of 50 in the highlight and shininess channels and a value of 30 in the the reflection channel. The bump channel consisted of a mix of 40 on the left and 0 on the right using the cellular operator with pattern #4, intensity of 100%, scale of 12%, and upper and lower limits of 50% and 0%. The same mixing function was used in the color channel with a gray of 48 on the left and black on the right.
Let me know what you think of the model. I'm especially interested in any suggestions for specific changes that would make the model closer to the ships on the actual show.
Feel free to create your own renderings or modify the models. Please include a link back to this page if you put any of the results up on the WWW.
You can E-mail me if you would like me to add you to a list of people I notify when I put up new or revised models on this site.
The spines were all made somewhat skinnier than those in version 2 and the blunt ends present on some of the spines were made pointier. The central feelers on the top and middle levels were modified so that they do not come forward as much from the main U. They also were widened. The geometry of the legs was changed to better match the geometry seen on a still from the show. I also changed the shader (best seen in the image of the warship firing) to one made using the new cellular shaders in the Ray Dream Radical F/X extension.
The biggest change made in the new model is the elimination of the 'body' object that was present in the top and middle layers of the old model. Instead, those layers now have the quad spines extending all the way to the midline to form a 'U' shape. The rest of the 'body' is made up of the larger and more complicated proximal part of the central feeler spines. The sizes and angles of all spines were adjusted slightly. The center of the object formed from the two back leg spines was moved back slightly to give the small 'bump' visible in the middle of the 'U' on a top view.
Back up to the Raydream page.
Back up to the Babylon 5 page.
[Home] [Comp] [SF] [Med/Bio] [Other Sci] [Personal]